Accident prevention through hazard communication

June 1, 2009

Failure to recognize a chemical hazard can threaten workers’ lives by risking chemical burns, respiratory problems, fires and explosions. Be certain every individual working with or near chemicals understands these risks to avoid injuries.

OSHA offers the following recommendations for effective hazard communication:

  • Maintain a Material Safety Data Sheet for every chemical used or stored in the workplace.
  • Be sure the MSDS information is accessible to employees at all times and available in languages and formats easily understood by all workers.
  • Train employees on how to read and understand MSDSs, and point out any potential risks involved with potentially dangerous chemicals in the workplace.
  • Always follow manufacturers’ recommendations on proper handling and storage of chemicals.
  • Provide a spill cleanup kit in areas where chemicals are stored, and create a written spill control plan.
  • Train employees on how to clean up spills and dispose of used materials while protecting themselves.
  • Provide all employees with the proper personal protective equipment for their tasks, and strongly enforce the use of PPE.